Smoked Paprika and Cheddar Vegan Cheese Ball

Smoked Paprika and Cheddar Vegan Cheese Ball

Smoked Paprika and Cheddar Vegan Cheese Ball//heartofabaker.comSmoked Paprika and Cheddar Vegan Cheese Ball//heartofabaker.com

There are 4 recipes that remind me distinctly of my late Grandma Millie; chicken and noodles, custard pie, Swedish tea log (coming soon!) and this cheeseball. I was actually never a fan of the custard pie (too jiggly and weird texture for me), but loved every single one of the other recipes. Her chicken and noodles were a Sunday tradition in our house, since she would send us home with huge tubs full of them already prepared, we could eat on those for ages. The pie, I obviously stayed away from, but the cheeseball

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Vegan Holiday Baking Roundup

Vegan Holiday Baking Roundup

Who is ready for some marathon holiday baking/hot chocolate sipping (peppermint smirnoff not optional)/edible gift giving? I am! I don’t usually go totally nuts around the holidays, but enough that I need to give away a lot of cookies (hello, if you live near me you should stop by for a box of cookies!), which is totally fine with me because I love giving treats to people. I’ve found that when I need to prep for a big baking event or am baking for a crowd, making and freezing dough is a lifesaver. Oftentimes, with vegan cookies, freezing the dough or letting it chill out gives you a better result, so freeze away! Also, if I’m going to be baking a lot and need to stock up on supplies, GFS has HUGE bags of chocolate chips that happen to be vegan (and cheap!)and Aldi always has solid baking essentials like baking soda, flours, etc. Sometimes I can even find ground flax seed and agave nectar at Aldi too, which is a really big score since it’s way cheaper there than it is elsewhere. In other marathon baking advice; don’t forget to set a timer, always give yourself more than enough time, and eat at least a cookie for every batch you make (quality control, obviously).

Vegan Holiday Baking Roundup // heartofabaker.com

Looking for a cookie that is a good take-home gift for guests after too much holiday boozing (this happened to me)? These chocolate dipped waffle cookies are the best cure for a late night snack and if you have leftover sugar cookie dough.

Can’t decide between oatmeal or peanut butter cookies? You don’t have to with these perfectly crisp peanut butter and oatmeal cookies. I also talk about being in 4-H in this post, so have fun reading about that!

These are newer to the blog, but a good gingerbread cookie is essential for the holidays. It’s up to you if you want to make them into little men or regular cookie shape! I also wouldn’t be against cat shaped cookies either.

These no-oil chocolate chip cookies are probably my favorite cookie recipe from the blog to date. Chocolate chip cookies seem to satisfy any craving and solve any problem, right?

Speaking of favorite cookie recipes, this cut-out sugar cookie recipe one comes in at a close second for one of my favorite creations on the blog. I replaced butter with cashew cream and the results were beyond what I could have expected. Sprinkle on your own homemade vanilla bean infused sugar for extra Martha Stewart points.

Have you ever had a potluck dinner with a group of food bloggers? They BRING it. I brought these toasted coconut and chocolate espresso cookies as a contribution on a blogger weekend trip last spring and they were a hit, so much so that I had to make two batches, one to keep at home and one to take with me.

The cookies that look like the most fun are these funfetti sugar cookies. Extra points if you make your own sprinkles (going to post a tutorial on making homemade Christmas sprinkles next week!)

How would you feel if you received a pan of cinnamon rolls for Christmas? Awesome, right? Gift these brown sugar banana and toasted almond cinnamon rolls to your favorite people and they will love you forever, promise. Use disposable pans so you don’t have to go tracking people down for your nice pie pans!

Usually I pass on snickerdoodles because they lack a very important ingredient…chocolate! Never fear, chocolate chip snickerdoodles are the perfect solution to that problem.

Holidays are for putting booze in things! Chocolate Bailey’s icebox cookies take booze, put it in cookies and call it a night.

Baking bread is one of my absolute favorite weekend activities. If that bread has chocolate swirled in and comes out in a pretty braid shape like this dark chocolate cinnamon babka? Even better!

I would be remiss if I didn’t include brownies in a baking roundup! Swirl peanut butter and jam into brownies and they practically qualify as breakfast, right?

Creme brulee AND cookies? It’s a dream cookie.

Last but not least, I don’t think anyone would turn down a homemade Twinkie, especially since it includes coconut whipped cream filling.

Happy baking!

Crispy Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

Crispy Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

Crispy Vegan Gingerbread Cookies.// heartofabaker.comCrispy Vegan Gingerbread Cookies.// heartofabaker.com

Back in grade school I loved super dorky things like my American Girl dolls (who thought they were the coolest girl because of these?), every single horse thing I could find and of course, Colonial Williamsburg. Oh, you haven’t gone to a place that acts like you are living in the 18oos? Let me tell you, I thought it was freaking awesome when we went to visit Williamsburg in Virginia. They played that awesome hoop game! Everyone lives in cool old houses! Besides for the fact that I got to pretend that I was Felicity from American Girls, I also found out that this magical place also knew how to do tasty baked goods. In the main part of ‘town’ there was a place called the Raleigh Bake Shop and they sold the absolute best baked goods, from pies to cookies, they had it all. My family’s favorite always seemed to be the ginger cakes, which were basically gingerbread cookies, but thicker and puffier and coated with a dusting of flour, from rolling out and cutting. Luckily for me, they also sold a small cookbook that detailed the treats they made in the bakery, so I could make them anytime at home. I haven’t made many other recipes from the book since, but the ginger cakes seem to always find their way into our family’s cookie arsenal year after year. One year, I even went as so far to close off the kitchen from my dad (who loves these cookies) while I made a giant batch of these cookies for him as a Christmas gift. I kept yelling at at my dad ‘You can’t come in here!!’ and trying to keep the cookies under wraps by shutting all the doors and insisting he was banished to the other half of the house for the afternoon, even though I knew he knew what I was doing. Even from an early age, I started showing my love with cookies!

Crispy Vegan Gingerbread Cookies.// heartofabaker.com

I’m all in and full force into the holiday baking season. Right now, we have no less than 3 types of cookies in the house and maybe even a pie or bar or two. I don’t think you are hearing complaints from anyone in our house right now. I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat flour  for these sturdy cookies and the Sparkling Sugar is just perfect to sprinkle on a batch of these gingerbread cookies.  These did turn out a bit thinner than I had hoped, but they are still a perfect cross between some of the teeth breaking hard gingerbread cookies out there and the super puffy pillows of ginger cakes that I remember. One of the biggest struggles in vegan baking for me has been making a crispy cookie, especially sans oil or butter. In the end, I figured out that a couple tablespoons of coconut oil does the trick for these gingerbread cookies, while not going too overboard with the fat content. You can go without the sparkling sugar garnish on these cookies, but I think they add a little more sweetness and kind of look like they are dusted with shimmering snow, so why wouldn’t you want that? These also keep well for a few days, so if you need to bake cookies ahead of time that will hold up, these will do the trick.

Crispy Vegan Gingerbread Cookies.// heartofabaker.com

Thanks to Bob’s Red Mill for sponsoring this post. I received product and was compensated for my time, but all opinions are my own.

Crispy Vegan Gingerbread Cookies.// heartofabaker.com

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Vegan Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake with Chocolate Cookie Crust

Vegan Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake with Chocolate Cookie Crust

Vegan Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake with Cookie Crust// heartofabaker.com

When I was thinking about what to write about this vegan cheesecake all I could think about was ‘It’s just damn good!’. That much is true, it’s stinking GOOD. Better than I thought it would turn out in fact. A while back (like over the summer), my fiance asked for a chocolate cookie crust chocolate chip cheesecake. In the months since, I forgot that it was a chocolate chip cheesecake he requested, rather than a chocolate swirl cheesecake, but this seems to be fulfilling that request just fine for now. I’ve had that request he made in the back of my mind in the meantime and just seemed to keep finding a reason to not make it (there was fudge to eat, there were books to be read, etc. the usual). Finally, I soaked my cashews, cracked open a can of coconut milk and just kind of freestyled my way into making this cheesecake.

Vegan Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake with Cookie Crust// heartofabaker.com

For some reason, it seems like when I meticulously plan out a recipe, referencing other recipes, looking up ratios, etc., the recipe doesn’t seem to turn out as I planned. But, when I just start throwing things into the food processor and kind of measure out ingredients, the recipe almost always turns out as I planned! The bad side of this approach to recipe development is that oftentimes, while I’m cleaning up I’m thinking about awesome my recipe turned out, anticipating typing it up and sharing it with you guys. Then I realize, I didn’t write a stinking thing down. Not one thing. If I tried to type out some of these recipes it would be a lot of really conservative guessing on measurements, cooking times, etc. and I would be afraid that someone would say ‘I tried to make this and set my kitchen on fire and then this tasted like tar, so thanks a lot’. To avoid that from happening, when I made this cheesecake I did my usual approach to making a recipe; start throwing things in, whirring together in the food processor, pour into the pan, all the good stuff. But, this time I stopped right after each step and wrote down the measurements of each ingredient and instructions for the step in the process. This not only helped me avoid an ‘oh crap’ moment when I started typing up the recipe, but also made me think about what should be going into each component more and how it might turn out. Although I did forget to spray the bottom of the pan liberally for this cheesecake (don’t be like me, spray away!), everything else turned out pretty wonderful and I can share it with you too. Hip hip hooray for cheesecake!

Vegan Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake with Cookie Crust// heartofabaker.com

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Vegan Cream of Potato Soup with Crispy Sage

Vegan Cream of Potato Soup with Crispy Sage

Cream of Potato Soup with Crispy Sage// heartofabaker.com

Let’s take a break from all the Thanksgiving dishes and make a super easy, super comforting vegan cream of potato soup, ok? I love a holiday centered around eating just as much as the next person, but I just really wanted to make a soup to step away from all the casseroles taking over at the moment. Even though I love to cook and love to cook for other people even more, a big holiday can have so much pressure and hard deadlines around it, that the fun in cooking seems to disappear.   Sharing a big pot of potato soup and passing around a loaf of crusty bread sounds just as fulfilling as taking part in an elaborate meal, it’s all relative.

Cream of Potato Soup with Crispy Sage// heartofabaker.com

For this round of vegan cream of potato soup, I used some leftover mashed potatoes that were going to turn into a baked casserole mashed potato dish, but it didn’t end up panning out and soup sounded a lot more appealing to me at the moment. First of all, if you have leftover mashed potatoes, you are either not eating enough mashed potatoes or made any overabundance of them, for which I applaud you.  If you happen to get sick of eating them straight up with a spoon or doused in gravy (I mean, who are you?), then I have a perfect solution for making a super fast and easy soup that just seems fancier with the addition of crispy sage. The sage is optional, but chopping up a good handful of herbs and quickly pan frying them makes a perfect garnish and addition to this creamy soup. If you already have mashed potatoes on hand, this soups can come together in a matter of a few minutes. Otherwise, the extra steps of boiling and mashing a few potatoes doesn’t add too much time to the prep, especially if you happen to do it ahead of time. A word of warning, make sure you chop the sage nice and finely before frying up. I made the mistake of leaving a few very large pieces and when I bit into them in the soup there was an explosion of sage flavor (which is ok if you like that!), which is a little too much for me. Dice finely and you should be fine!

Cream of Potato Soup with Crispy Sage// heartofabaker.com

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